I fired Google+ today. No real moral outrage or grandiose theories about advertising companies owning our souls, though that is all absolutely true and I am already beyond the pale. But, in the end, I just wanted to pull a Nancy Reagan and “just say no.” No to another social network, no to another easy corporate solution, and no to a whole ton of people I really don’t know forcing me to categorize them. Despite all the blather about having layers (or levels) of people permissions on Google+, the circles really undo any sense of the organic web. Add to that I had 500+ folks in one or the other of those circles and I did little or nothing to get them there—they just flooded my inbox like invitation spam. It all seemed prefabricated, not to mention premised upon all the relationships of mine already established in Google services I used they had data mined (which makes it spam, right?), and ultimately it ended up feeling like a social get together in a commercial mall that was designed by Facebook but built and sponsored by Google. I know you can’t ever truly be free of all the demons, but it’s probably good policy not to get to comfortable with any of them.
All that said, to Google’s credit deleting my Google+ account was dead simple. I just found this post by Dave Winer (who has a much more thoughtful reasoning for opting out) and followed this link.
And below is the picture story of the break-up 🙂
Pretty much bang on. Would you say Google+ has been BANISHED?
Anyway, I’d been feeling pretty much the same way before my own moral outrage incident – it just happened to be a catalyst.
I’m reluctantly giving Google+ a spin, though I’ve had misgivings about the fracturing nature of the Circles concept since I first heard about them. It perhaps has to do with the frustration I started feeling soon after I bifurcated my online presence between ed/tech and art/life, which was never something I was doing for myself, but for the people who read me. I’m not sure how many multiples of circles is going to do anything except complicate my life. I might as well just mark everything ‘public’ and then… what’s the point?
I suspect the somewhat surprising popularity of Google+ among people who I wouldn’t expect to like it has something to do with the fact that it is, for the most part, a system populated by geeks and technology enthusiasts… kind of a less cluttered-with-families and “irrelevant” communication than Facebook. I don’t see much innovation.
And the whole idea that we shouldn’t be whole people on the web and should be segregating who we are is very suspect. Early on I told Bryan Alexander that I wasn’t interested in the circles because I was more interested that people engage with (or not) the whole, real me, not some managed, thin slice. Take it or leave it, I said, and I’m not yet feeling that my inital reaction was wrong.
All that said, I plan to give it a good chance, just in case it turns out to have a lifecycle like Twitter…
Moral outrage is much more respectable, I am just getting jaded, which is really just like saying I am already dead 🙂
I’ll be honest, I think your first hunches are right. Let’s face it, you are usually right about this stuff early on. You were right about twitter and tumblr when I was like “that’s bullshit” back in 2007—just look at them both now. You early reservation makes sense, and I too felt the need to see what was up. What’s more, it could be that Google+ has yet to find its groove—which might happen. And if it does, I can say without apologies that I will get into it. If the people are there that I want to be engaging with then I will go there, but as of now that isn’t the case (while the people are there to some degree the engagement is not). Add to that the complete lack of innovation (as you note) and it is hard to believe it ever will. But I could be dead wrong and will admit it freely should it come to pass. But until then it is all the blog and twitter for me 🙂
I just followed suit. I don’t think I ever really posted anything to it, and all it seemed to be is a repository for friend requests. The only friend request I saw in the last several weeks that was from an actual human was from Chris. Worst case scenario, I wind up recreating my account a few more times…
Exactly, nothing to lose should the day come that Google+ is actually useful, and in the meantime I can avoid the extra emails and annoying idea that there is yet another mouth to feed 🙂
I find I am mostly continuing to have good conversations on Twitter and Buzz and not on +. On the other hand, some people I know are starting to use + in educational contexts so I have to stay to play with those experiments. Since I don’t do Facebook, I don’t face the problem of near-duplication of the experience. But I’m really not getting much value-added from + apart from those specific seminar circles etc.
Yeah, I too will be watching out for experiments, and I wonder if at some point I won;t want Google+ back fro the video hangouts. I liked how they worked a lot, but we are experimenting with other approaches to video at UMW that may allow us some of this functionality. In the end though, if people are doing awesome stuff in Google+ I’m sure I’ll be back—I just know I don;t have the time or energy and I wanted to see how easy it would be to get out of it. And it’s pretty easy.